In a Galaxy Far Far Away…

Grace’s sixth birthday is a space themed extravaganza so I made a galaxy cake. It’s more of a solar system cake, but not our solar system.

The cake is a six layer stacked extreme chocolate cake. A cardboard cake board separates each two layers to make cutting and serving easier. Each layer is a 9” round cake, and the “internal” cake board is 8” to allow a smooth buttercream transition between layers. The small white stars are tempered white chocolate made with a silicon mold. The larger stars, around the base, are various colors of white chocolate, again formed using a silicon mold.

The planets are white chocolate made with a variety of hemispherical silicon molds and painted with decorating colors mixed with vodka. Some of them were fused together to make spheres, the ones on the side of the cake were left as hemispheres. Slightly melting the edges of the hemisphere or the bottom of the spheres helped them adhere to the blue buttercream.

Before adding the planets I splattered the cake with white food coloring. The “space woman” was purchased and a printable decal image of Grace was pasted on the silver faceplate of the space suit.

Retirement Cake

I thought a “Book Cake” would be an appropriate choice for a school principal’s retirement party. I was told she likes to read and likes chocolate cake, so….

I didn’t have a rectangular cake board of the appropriate size (13”x17”,) nor did the local stores, so I made one from cardboard and food quality cellophane.

I made two 11×15” Extreme Chocolate Cakes and refrigerated them for a couple of days. When crumb coating, I like to cool (and firm) the cakes. Also, I make my buttercream frosting a little thinner when using it for crumb coating..

One batch of marshmallow fondant was divided 4:1. The large portion formed the edges and were striated to resemble pages of a book. The small portion was colored with the school color “yellow.” The white fondant was wrapped in plastic and left to rest for a couple of hours. The yellow portion was rolled out between parchment paper sheets. I use chopsticks of various sizes to roll the fondant into the desired thickness. The yellow fondant sheet was left to dry slightly, uncovered on a thin bed of powered sugar. After an hour or so, brush some additional sugar on the top of the sheet and flip it over, letting it rest until dry to the touch. I used the yellow to make the letters for the title and spline. (See the top of the pictures below. If they are dry, they are easier to punch out.

When the white fondant is firmer, roll three pieces long and wide enough to cover the edges of the cake. Use a sharp tool to score the fondant lengthwise to represent the pages of the book.

Before covering the cake with fondant smooth the surface of the crumb coat by wetting gloved hands and rubbing them over the surface. This also helps wet the crumb coat so the fondant will stick.

Cut the sheets of white fondant to be an inch longer and wider than the sides of the cake. Press them on, smoothing the joins on the corners and trim the top to be just wider than the book. Cut the bottom off even with the bottom of the book.

Make another batch of fondant. (Note to self: be sure to use fresh, mini-marshmallows. Life will be much easier.) This batch will be the book cover and can be colored “school blue” in the mixer. Once the consistency and color is correct, transfer the fondant to a vegetable-shortening-coated-surface and knead the fondant with gloved and grease covered hands to be sure the fondant is a uniform consistency and color. Let it set for an an hour, wrapped in plastic.

Roll the fondant out on a well sugar dusted table to be two inches wider and longer than the book. In my case it was 16”x16” and I used a 1/4” chopstick to roll it an even thickness. Fold it in half and carefully transfer to the cake. Trim to size and cut thin long pieces to be the bottom cover of the book. Paint water along the bottom edge and apply the thin pieces.

Use the yellow fondant and apply as reinforcements to the corners of the top of the book and thin pieces on the bottom corners. Two more short thin pieces were added to the spline. Wipe the book cover with a damp paper towel. This removes any residual sugar and makes the fondant sticky so the letters will adhere. If the fondant is still too soft, push a toothpick into the top corners to hold it in place. Just remember to remove the toothpick before delivering the cake.

If you have the talent you can brush or pipe the lettering on after the fondant dries. My handwriting is all but illegible so I opt to punch them out and place by hand.

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Makes two 9” round cakes
INGREDIENTS

(Makes one 10’ ROUND CAKE [and two 5”] – quantities are in parenthesis. Or one 11”x15”x2” sheet cake.)
• 2 cups white sugar (3)
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (2 2/3)
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (1 ¼)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (2 ¼)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (2 ¼)
• 1 teaspoon salt (1 ½)
• 2 eggs (3)
• 1 cup milk (1 ½)
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil (¾)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (3)
• 1 cup boiling water (1 ½)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. (SEE QTY FOR 10” CAKES)
  2. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa,
    baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an
    electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans. (For cupcakes,
    portion ¼ scant cups in each cupcake paper.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or 205F internal temp. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

Marshmallow Fondant


INGREDIENTS
• 1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows
• 2-5 tablespoons water
• 2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar
• 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening

METHOD

  1. Grease your mixing bowl and a glass bowl that can be used to melt marshmallows in the microwave.
  2. Place the marshmallows, water and flavoring of your choice in greased glass bowl and microwave on high at 30 second intervals.
  3. Stir every 30 seconds until marshmallows are completely melted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Sift one half of the 2 pound bag of confectioner’s sugar in a greased mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the confectioner’s sugar and pour in the melted marshmallows.
  5. I use the paddle attachment for my KitchenAid mixer for this first part of the mixture.
  6. Mix until all the melted marshmallows are incorporated in the confectioner’s sugar.
  7. Mixture will be thick but still runny.
  8. Sift the remaining half bag of confectioner’s sugar into the melted marshmallows.
  9. Mix on low until it comes together.
  10. Change to your dough hook attachment as this will get extremely thick.
  11. Fondant will be very thick and have a dough like consistency
  12. Wrap fondant in saran and make sure no air gets to it.
  13. Rest fondant for at least an hour before use.

Not All That Glitters is Gold!

This year (as every year) New Year’s Eve party cake was requested (thankfully.) I love to make them. A couple of days later a follow up request for a silver 2022 topper which was an excellent suggestion. I decided to learn to work with isomalt to create the numbers, rather than buying some. It never hurts to add a new skill.

It took some practice to learn the method (how hot to boil it, the amount of water to add, how long to cool after it reaches the optimum temperature, and more.) It took a lot of practice and failures.

Some were boiled too long and discolored. Some were too thick, some never cleared.

Finally I found the correct combination. And the resulting sugar numbers were acceptable.

Once the temperature is 320 let the molten sugar sit for a few seconds to clear some of the bubbles then place the pan into cold water to stop the cooking.

After the sugar is cold, place some sticks on the back and “glue” them in place with some molten sugar. Once they are cool turn the numbers (or stars) over and dampen slightly with your finger, then sprinkle sparkly glitter on the damp sugar and spread with a brush to cover completely and let dry.

Frost the cake and add the numbers. I used plastic straws in the cake to give the numbers and stars more support. Once the numbers were in place I added the stars, staggering their height. The colored straws gave the impression of fireworks. (I hope.) Lots of fun and an opportunity to learn new skills.

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Makes two 9” round cakes
INGREDIENTS

(Makes one 10’ ROUND CAKE [and two 5”] – quantities are in parenthesis.)
• 2 cups white sugar (3)
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (2 2/3)
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (1 ¼)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (2 ¼)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (2 ¼)
• 1 teaspoon salt (1 ½)
• 2 eggs (3)
• 1 cup milk (1 ½)
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil (¾)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (3)
• 1 cup boiling water (1 ½)
Frosting
• 3/4 cup butter
• 1 1/2 cups (125g) unsweetened cocoa powder
• 5 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar 624g (1c confectioners sugar = 117g)
• 2/3 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. (SEE QTY FOR 10” CAKES)
  2. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa,
    baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an
    electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans. (For cupcakes,
    portion ¼ scant cups in each cupcake paper.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or 205
    internal temp. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, use the second set of ingredients. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the
    cocoa and confectioners’ sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency.
    (This recipe will frost 36 cupcakes.)
  5. Split the layers of cooled cake horizontally, cover the top of each layer with frosting, then stack them
    onto a serving plate. Frost the outside of the cake.

    Isomalt
  6. Mix isomalt and water in a 4:1 ratio in a stainless steel or non stick pan
  7. Heat under medium high heat until the isomalt reaches 320 deg F
  8. Remove from heat and let sit for a few moments to allow the bubbles to subside then place the hot pan in water for a few seconds to stop the isomalt cooking.
  9. Carefully pour the molten solution into dry molds and let cool.
  10. (I wear heat proof silicone gloves while working with molten sugar. It is very hot!

    NOTES
    a. Do NOT let the internal temp exceed 210 deg F or the cake will be overdone.
    b. Fill cupcake papers 2/3rds full. This will allow space for the cupcakes to expand and create a nice
    domed shape.

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts

I was shown a picture of a Jack ‘O Lantern cake, found the tutorial and more of less followed it. It is supposed to be one of those plastic buckets used to collect your spoils during Trick or Treat. I am satisfied with my first attempt. The recipe called for chocolate cake, so I used my Extreme Chocolate Cake. I also used my recipe for buttercream frosting and marshmallow fondant.

While a little time consuming, most of the individual elements can be prepared well in advance. I made the cakes almost a week early and frozen them. When thawed they are every bit as good as fresh. Fondant needs to rest overnight and buttercream will stay in the fridge for several days before use.

Mark a 4” circle on the top and the mid-point down the cake. Try your best to carve a half a sphere, evenly around the center of the cake. I put a 4” flat plastic disk to serve as a base. The QC department suggested the top of a round plastic storage container that worked perfectly. Take a deep breath, hold the cake tight and flip it end for end. Repeat the same carving on what will now be the top of the cake, making a perfect sphere, or in my case a slightly distorted, but acceptable, ovoid.

  1. Make the cakes and cool, or if frozen, let warm to room temp.
  2. Mix the buttercream.
  3. Before coloring I set a piping bag full aside to frost some birthday party cupcakes I made.
  4. Frost between the layers, smooth any seepage and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Carve the cool cake and crumb coat, back to the fridge.
  6. Frost the cake and yup, refrigerate again.
  7. Make the marshmallow fondant, break off some of the un-colored fondant and set aside.
  8. Knead in the orange food coloring. Protect your work surface to avoid stains. I like to wear gloves for this.
  9. Knead black food coloring for the face into the white piece set aside.
  10. Find a face you like, or draw your own.
  11. Cut it out, pin it to the cake and cut out holes for the black fondant.
  12. Cut the black fondant to fit the template and fit into the holes on the cake.
  13. Cut a 4” circle on the top about 1/2” deep and line with fondant. (Which ever color you have left over.)
  14. Roll a piece of black fondant out into a long trip. Lay a piece of wire on it and wrap with the fondant, leaving a couple off inches of wire uncoated. Push the clean ends into each side of the top opening.
  15. Place a few pieces of wrapped candy in the shallow hole on the top.
Halloween/Birthday Cupcakes

Straight Down the Middle

As we near the end (of some peoples playing season,) one of my golf buddies invited our foursome and families over for a patio dinner before the weather starts turning cold(er). I offered to bring a cake along to the dinner. This is what I made this morning

It’s my extreme chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

The trees are gum-paste cones made by wrapping thin gum-paste around a form, then set to dry overnight.

Of course, I rarely hit it straight down the middle!!

TBE Logo Cake

Robin asked for anyone planning to attend her and Andi’s Open House last night to let her know in advance so they could plan on what and how many desserts to expect. I immediately told her I would bring a cake. As this open house was in part to celebrate their new home (which was wonderful by the way.) I decided to celebrate the new 5f2349a5-ad83-4fd7-ac6d-47f32f3bbd8abranding of TBE by making a chocolate cake with the new TBE logo on top.  The cake and chocolate fudge frosting use the standard recipe found elsewhere in this blog.

The new TBE logo was designed with careful attention to both geometric design and color. I am not good with colors and only approximated the CMYK color of the actual image. The logo is made with cut out, rolled sugar cookies. I made a 3709785b-9975-4bc7-ae2d-fb2e189b5ce3template by printing the logo scaled to size. In this case the overall height was about 10″.  I then cut out the colored parts of the logo and placed the template on the rolled out cookie dough and trace the outline with a knife. Next, remove the template and carefully cut out the dough along the tracings and transfer it to a 4bc8d4aa-341f-4088-8d3a-edd0d5227ef9parchment covered cookie sheet., being careful not to distort the shapes. Check them against the template and correct any distortions. Bake the cookies as per the directions below and allow to cool. I actually made the cookies 2 weeks ago and froze them between layers of waxed paper.

The color was added by “float frosting” the shapes with colored royal icing. I made small recipes of royal icing (3 tbl meringue power, 1 cup powered sugar and 4–6 tablespoons warm water or enough to make the icing just barely pipeable. I am not sure pipeable is a word, but it is now.) Pipe the thick icing around the edges of the appropriate shape. In my case the star and the long curvy thing were blue (I used Wiltons Royal Blue gel icing.) The base and ASL sideways “L”, or if you are left handed its a backwards ASL sideways “L”,  was mostly yellow with a little orange. Once the edges are coated (don’t worry if it runs a little you can trim it later) pipe a bead around the top edge of the piece letting it just run into the sides to make a seamless seam (hmmmm.)  Once that is completed, dilute the royal icing with a couple more tbls of warm water to the point is just barely drips out of the piping bag. Flood the top of the cookie letting the icing run together into a solid smooth coating. Let it dry, or refrigerate if you are the annoying, impatient, Type A person. After refrigerating, I trimmed runny frosting from the edges of the cookies.

Arrange the cookie shapes on the chocolate cake. A bit of advice – make sure the top of the cake carrier will not squish the cookies into the cake and stick to the top of the carrier causing them to rip out of the cake when setting out for display. Just sayin.

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe for Cut out Cookies

Incredients

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  4. 2 sticks (1cup) butter, unsalted, softened to room temperature
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 large egg, room temperature
  7. 1 tbl vanilla extract, vanilla bean past or almond extract
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, add salt, set aside.
  • In a small dish whisk together egg and vanilla extract, set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl cream together room temperature butter and sugar, about 5 minutes, scrape the bowl twice. Butter and should be light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add vanilla egg mixture, beating anywhere from 30 seconds to minute until well mixed in.
  • Now gradually in 3 additions add flour. Lower the speed of your mixer to low. Scrape the bowl well after the last addition and beat just until flour is combined.
  • Scrape the cookie dough into a large bowl, and using your hand knead it for about 30 to 60 seconds, until dough comes together.
  • Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (8 hours) or minimum 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Divide cookie dough in half. Roll one half of the cookie dough into about 1/4 inch thick, between 2 pieces of parchment paper using rolling guides. (2 painter’s sticks glued together on each side, or 2 pieces of 1/4 inch molding.
  • Cut out the shapes. Place the cookies on a light colored baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I use a double walled insulated baking sheet.)  You can re-knead and re-roll the dough to cut additional shapes. Chill the cut outs in the fridge for about 15 minutes or in the freezer 8 minutes. This will help them hold their shape during baking.
  • Bake for 9 min, depending on the oven, turn the sheet once half way through the baking.
  • Let the cooking cool on the baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, transfer to cooling rack.
  • Store in the airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze un-decorated cookies between pieces of wax paper in a large freeze safe container, for up to 2 months.

Take Me Out to the Ball… Park

For her birthday all Fran wanted was one of my cakes. For the woman who starts counting the days until pitchers and catchers report from the last out of the World Series (114 days) I thought a baseball themed cake would be perfect. I mulled it over for a while, discarding baseballs, gloves and bats before deciding on a baseball park.BB Stadium 3

As I often do, I searched Google images for ideas of a design for a baseball park cake. Not finding any that caught my eye or attention, I designed my own. The first thing I discovered is it is very difficult to make a small cake with any detail. I compromised and used M&M’s for fans and Peanut M&M’s for players. The scoreboard is a Hershey bar (one of Fran’s favs) with a Happy Birthday message piped with royal icing. You can tell I did that, the piping is mediocre and the penmanship is atrocious. The BB Stadium 4playing field is chocolate cake with the outfield carved into a curved radius and grand stands are white velvet cake baked in a bread loaf pan then cut at an angle to make parallel triangular wedges for the grand stands. Everything was crumb coated with white butter cream frosting, chilled overnight and a finish frosting coat added the next day.

The infield was made from green dyed butter cream and piped onto the cake with a grass tip (Wilton #233.) M&M’s were placed strategically around the ball park and the scoreboard on top of the right field grand stand.

Recipes for all cakes, frostings and icings can be found in other posts in my blog.

M&Mmmmmmmm Cake

M&M 3

If it works, don’t fix it. My chocolate cake is probably the best cake I make (In My Not So HO). The Heavenly White is a very close second, but I really think the chocolate is #1.

Anyway, when invited to Robin’s open house, and knowing Robin has some sort of M&M obsession (in the nicest sense of the word), and being asked to inform them if I was bringing a

MM 1 Small

dessert, I had some initial anxiety deciding on a “theme” for the cake (between a Robin’s Egg Blue cake, which could have been Heavenly White, or an M&M cake, which HAD to be chocolate) I ultimately chose the M&M cake. (Please see my Facebook “Chicken and Egg” post for a further discussion of life’s anxieties.)

I used a Wilton’s 3D Egg Pan which I found on eBay for $6. This is a very versatile pan if you want to make egg (bird, chicken, bunny, Fabrege, etc) or football, or even Peanut M&M shaped cakes. It is very important to allow the cake to cool completely. I untied the two pans and left them in place overnight, otherwise they are hard to remove from the pans and will break apart. Crumb coat the ovoid cake with a relatively thin version of the butter cream frosting. Add a little milk if it is too thick. Let the butter cream set for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. After it is set, put on some latex gloves and smooth the entire cake.eggpan 1 small eggpan 3 small

Roll out some red fondant and lay it over the cake, tucking it in and under the sides and smoothing as best you can. I am not good with rounded ends and can never get them smooth enough to satisfy me. If anyone has some tips here I would love to hear them. I do the typical stretch, smooth etc etc etc but it still wrinkles.

To make the “M” use the Rockwell font which is similar to what is found on the candy and print it about 2″ high. Cut the “M” our and use as a stencil. Roll out some gum-paste, lay the stencil over it and cut out the “M” using an Exacto knife. Wet the area backside of the the “M” and stick it in place on the cake.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour the two Wilton 3D Egg cake pans. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the one half of the egg pan. It should almost overflow. Place the empty half over the filled half, tie both halves together tightly with string and place in the oven balanced on one of the stabilizing ovals.

Basic Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup solid high ratio shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (or extract of choice)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla and milk. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating on a slow speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Keep bowl or covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Don’t overwhip or it will bring air to the icing and is impossible to smooth. If you have a kitchen Aid use white attachment, not whip attachment.

Thanksgiving 2013 or Another Step on the Road to Gluttony

OK, Turkey Day 4 is over and I am officially done. Turkey, sides and desserts 4 days in a row beat me. Of course, it is also Chanukah! I could tell because the one bottle of London Pub Ale miraculously transformed into eight bottles to last all eight days. (Claiming literary license here as I am only drinking one bottle per week these days.) Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Cake The pumpkin pie is actually a chocolate cake in disguise. Use about 1/3 of the batter and spread it out in a pie plate that was baked along with the rest of the batter which was put into two 6″ cake pans with their bottoms covered with quick release silicone sheets, greased and floured. (Only fill the pie platter a little less than half full or the cake will rise over the top.) Make a double batch of butter cream frosting. One cup was diluted slightly to make it easily spreadable and dyed with a mixture of orange and brown food coloring to match the color of the traditional pumpkin pie Fran made. This was spread over the top of the cake. Another cup was dyed to match the crust (more brown, less orange.) Use a #125 petal, or similar,  tip to pipe the darker brown frosting around the edge to form the crust and an open star tip to form the whipped cream from the balance of the white butter cream. (Save a little white buttber cream for later.) Dreidle Cake While the small chocolate cakes are baking, make a batch of chocolate frosting. You will need lots of chocolate frosting. Don’t be afraid to make a double batch here. It will not go to waste. Any left-over makes an excellent side for lunch or even a wonderful breakfast dessert. The two 6″ round chocolate cakes were cooled and one of the layers was cut into two thinner disks. One of the thinner disks was stacked on top of the full layer which was topped with a chocolate frosting cover, then the entire small cake was frosted. The remaining thin disk of cake was crumbled, mixed with a little chocolate frosting, shaped to resemble a turkey body, neck and head and then frozen. Don’t use all the chocolate frosting as you will need more than a cup for the turkey cake. While the oven is still hot make the Heavenly White cake in two 9″ parchment paper bottom lined round cake pans. While it is baking, make another (double) recipe of butter cream frosting. Dye 1/4 cup green, 1/4 cup blue, about 3/4 cup yellow and the rest dark orange. When cool, crumb coat the double layer Heavenly White cake and refrigerate. Use multiple piping bags as some colors will need to be used more than once. Use the blue frosting to pipe the outline and fill the dreidel. Smooth it with a spatula and use a petal tip or other ribbon making tip to pipe one of the Hebrew letters on the blue dreidel. (I made a Hei, it seemed the easiest.) This cake is complete. TurkeyCake1 Add about a tablespoon of milk to a cup of white butter cream and mix well to thin it. Use the thin frosting to coat the white cake with a smooth outer shell. I used a star tip to pipe the outer dark chocolate turkey feathers. Start about 2″ from the edge of the cake. As you squeeze the piping bag move slowly toward the edge then back towards the beginning point, releasing pressure as you go. Repeat as necessary to cover about 200 degrees of the perimeter of the cake. (I am basically a scientist. Deal with it.) Next use the dark orange butter cream and same tip form the next layer of feathers using the same technique. While you have the orange in the bag pipe the perimeter around the bottom of the cake. Pipe some of the yellow frosting inside the orange feathers and save the rest in the bag. Use the green frosting with a #233 grass tip to make the grass. Coat the frozen chocolate turkey-looking-thing with chocolate frosting, shaping it to be a little more turkey-ish. Lay it inside the semi-circle of yellow feathers and across the grass. Use the remaining yellow frosting to pipe the turkey feet. Use some remaining chocolate frosting to make the wings and dye a little left over white butter cream red to make the beak and comb. Taa-daa!

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the frosting, use the second set of ingredients. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency.

Recipe: Heavenly White Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites ( or substitute)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Measure sifted flour, baking powder, and salt; sift together three times.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually, and continue beating only until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.
  3. Cream butter or margarine. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Mix in flavorings. Add meringue, and beat thoroughly into batter. Spread into cake pans with parchment paper lining the bottom.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Basic Crusting Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup solid high ratio shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon of meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (or extract of choice)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla and milk. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating on a slow speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Keep bowl or covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Don’t overwhip or it will bring air to the icing and is impossible to smooth. If you have a kitchen Aid use white attachment, not whip attachment.

East is left and West is right

and who-da-thought they would meet for Thanksgiving at our house in 2011. Faced with the dilemma of having Republican political consultants and still newly weds Daniel and Frances home for Thanksgiving and tree-hugging lefty pinko liberal Fran’s birthday the same week, what cake do I make for their anniversary and birthday? Not having been born just yesterday I realized I needed to make two cakes.

The elephant cake for Daniel and Frances was my standard chocolate cake crumb coated with butter cream frosting and covered with white fondant.

The donkey (see how nice I am to use that descriptor?) was white velvet again crumb coated with butter cream and covered with fondant.

The emblems were carved from fondant and painted the traditional colors.

The stars both on the emblems and around the base were piped with red, white and blue colored butter cream frosting

The white velvet cake recipe are found at: I am not on the white velvet ropes yet!

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
  2. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.